Coming to America 2


It Could Be Worse...
The Welcoming Committee couldn’t have been nicer. Several of the guys came by our apartments with handwritten “business cards” detailing their names, addresses and phone numbers accompanied with offers to show us around town. The hospital had provided us with sheets and towels, a fruit basket and disposable cutlery and dishware. We were set.

None of us had cars so we became regulars with ‘The Razorback Cab Company’. A “Razorback” is the University of Arkansas’ mascot – a really big mean-looking red pig and oh my God, It gets worse. The pig was so popular that everyone (except for us) knew what ‘calling the hogs’ meant and ‘Pig-Calling Contests’ were fairly popular. ‘Calling the Hogs’ wasn’t very pretty but after a few drinks, it was easy. Ahem.

According to a University of Arkansas Website...."Although historians aren’t exactly sure of the exact date, a group of Arkansas football fans at some point during the 1920s are believed to have been the first to “call the Hogs” during a game. Spontaneous “hog calls” have been known to break out in airports, malls, restaurants and hotels all across the country. The words to the Hog call are simple: 'Woooooooooo, Pig! Sooie! “Woooooooooo, Pig! Sooie! “Woooooooooo, Pig! Sooie! Razorbacks!' Correctly calling the Hogs takes some practice. It starts with [a little alcohol and] both hands raised high into the air, fingers waving as the volume increases during the word Woooooooooo. The arms pump down on the word Pig and then back into the air on the word Sooie."
Speaking of drinking, I ran into a little snag when I first tried to gain entry into one of Fort Smith’s discos. For starters, it was law that you had to be a ‘member’ of any place that offered mixed drinks. For some reason, “Redneck Bars” were exempt. I guess it was because they only served beer. Secondly, the legal drinking age in Arkansas was twenty-one. I, being a Registered Nurse, responsible for the care of cardiac patients and licensed to administer narcotics had to provide fake I.D. to gain admission.

On our days off from work, we would hang out at the pool and/or go to ‘Central Mall” during the day, go disco dancing at night and drink ‘Wild Turkey’and coke. We were assimilating nicely to Fort Smith and soon started to make friends with native Arkansans. It was then that we learned of a few ‘peculiarities?’ I guess ‘squirrel-hunting’ was not peculiar to the natives but when you are raised in the city by a moose hunting Newfoundlander, I would think that those cute little squirrels would be completely obliterated with one rifle shot. When I asked a ‘squirrel-hunter’… “What is left of them after you shoot them?” He answered “Enough to make ‘Squirrel Chili”. Call me prissy but I have yet to eat a squirrel.

Considering the fact that we all spoke English, I noticed several differences. The expressions “Huh-uh and Uh-huh” were two very different things altogether. “Huh-uh means “No” and “Uh-huh” means “Yes” or if elongated “Uh-huhhhhh” means “You’re welcome”. ‘Fixin’ meant ‘preparing’, ‘coke’ was any kind of soft drink, as in…“I’m fixin’ to get me a Coke”. That same person would return with 7-Up. Despite our differences though, the people of Fort Smith will always hold a special place in my heart as they were so warm and welcoming to us, eh?  Part 3: Hang Around Fort Smith Awhile

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